Lot 24: Magnificent Signed Photograph of Pablo Casals Playing his Cello
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: CASALS, PABLO. (1876-1973). Spanish cellist, conductor and composer. SP. (“Pablo”). 1p. 4to. N.p., N.d. To influential Russian pianist, composer and teacher ALEXANDER SILOTI (1863-1945) and his wife, pianist VERA PAVLOVNA SILOTI (née Tretyakova, 1866-1940). A sepia-toned photograph of Casals intently playing his cello inscribed and signed in French in white ink at the image’s lower left. ********** Trained in the violin by his father, Casals became devoted to the cello upon first hearing it at the age of 11. After being discovered by Spanish composer and pianist Isaac Albéniz while playing in a cafe, Casals received a stipend to study at the Madrid Royal Conservatory. During the early years of the 20th century, he performed in Paris, London, and throughout the Americas. Casals gained an international reputation and toured extensively until the threat of execution by Spain’s Franco regime led to his exile. “Never a flamboyant performer, he sought tirelessly in practice and rehearsal for the truth and beauty he felt to be an artist’s responsibility, and used his formidable powers with a simplicity and concentration that allowed no compromise. His artistry led to a new appreciation of the cello and its repertory,” (New Grove Dictionary). After his exile, Casals performed occasionally including in support of the United Nations and as part of a peace campaign that he launched himself. ********** Siloti was a student of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rubinstein and Franz Liszt and became an influential instructor at the Moscow Conservatory where Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of his students. Siloti’s wife, Vera, was the daughter of the wealthy art collector and philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov. As head of the Moscow Philharmonic, Siloti conducted performances by world renowned composers and performers including Casals. Following the 1917 revolution, Siloti fled his homeland, settled in New York City in 1921, and taught at Julliard from 1925-1942. ********** Siloti aided Casals’ career by giving him important performance opportunities. “Casals had first performed in St. Petersburg in 1905, with the Maryinski orchestra under Siloti’s baton. Through Siloti, Casals met virtually every important figure in Russian music. In the concert series of which Siloti had been music director, Casals had played with Rachmaninoff and with Siloti himself,” (Pianist: A Biography of Eugene Istomin, Gollin). ********** With some creasing at the edges and a small amount of paper loss in the lower left corner, not affecting the image. In very good condition. An uncommonly early photograph of Casals performing.